A long, discreet drive marked PRIVATE ROAD, a lion and unicorn standing sentinel, led from Kensington High Street to the palace: “KP,” as it was known in the family.
A couple of policemen with walkie-talkies would wave me in with what sounded like the first line of a limerick, “Ah, you’re the Indian fella who’s going with Gabriella.” The warren of dark-brick apartments and offices that greeted me resembled something between a military hospital and an old people’s home.
Ella and I were introduced by friends in common at my housewarming party.
She was still at Brown, while I had just begun working as a reporter at sent me to its London bureau.
“Well, Dickie,” the Queen is reported to have said when Lord Mountbatten, Earl of Burma and Prince Philip’s uncle, first spoke to her of Princess Michael as a prospective bride for Prince Michael, “she sounds a bit too grand for us.” And she was, now chiding people for calling her Marie Christine instead of “Your Royal Highness,” now tracing her lineage back to Charlemagne. She failed to acquire that one quality that is the supreme attribute of British royalty: coziness.
Prince Michael was cozy; Prince Charles is cozy; the Queen, by all accounts, is a tea cozy.
A decade ago, the author’s own royal romance made him aware of the challenges facing people of color in the royal orbit.
The British, with their many class anxieties and resentments, hate how much they love their royal family, and one of the ways they express this quixotic love is through a naked hatred of minor royalty.The colonial past made it almost second nature for Britons born at the tail end of the Raj to treat roughly a quarter of the planet as subject peoples.I was one of the first natives of that former empire to be dating a member of the royal family, and soon Gary Lewis, a Maori builder and surfer, married Lady Davina Windsor, daughter of the Duke of Gloucester.The cozy crowned heads of small Eastern European countries cooked us lamb chops late at night and told us tales of Nazis and Communists. I grew up amid the depredations of socialist India—my father was a Pakistani businessman and politician who abandoned my mother when I was two, leaving her to support us through a career in journalism—and as a reaction, no doubt, I developed a taste for café society in New York.After college, I found myself among a group of idle beautiful people.